The Basics of Healthy, Balanced Eating
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
Healthy, balanced eating is not brain science. All of these tips are common sense but the challenge is putting them into practice and making that practice habit. So let's start with these basic tips, choose one per week to improve on and take it from there!
Stay tuned for more tips and realistic ways to adopt them!
Never be hungry, Never be full
Our bodies always want to be at an equilibrium; the perfect chemistry and balance where our machines have what it needs to run smoothly. When it is out of that balance, it is ‘stressed’ or working to get back to that equilibrium. Our bodies are the happiest when there is a proper supply of nutrients and fuel in flow. When it has too much, it needs to work harder to store for emergencies or eliminate the excess. When it doesn’t have enough, it has to operate without it at a cost or work harder to produce what it needs out of other materials. Eating regularly throughout the day allows your body to operate most efficiently, keeps things flowing and at a good balance.
Eat whole foods
Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, milk and meat in its most natural form where possible to get the most nutrients, bacteria and enzymes that your body requires to operate at the most optimal level.
Reduce processed foods
Processed foods lose nutrients, bacteria and enzymes the more it is modified, the longer it is stored and they may include chemicals that are not natural to the body. Reduce things like refined sugar, condiments, sauces, spreads, powders, packaged or pre-cooked foods. Not all are bad so be sure to check the label for better information.
Fill your plate with colourful vegetables
Every vegetable has different nutrients and different absorption rates. You can’t get all your nutrients from eating one vegetable, so fill your plate with different colours which will ensure you are getting a range of nutrients. In terms of calories, vegetables are typically very low in calorie density with lots of water and fibre content and nutrient-rich so you can fill up on vegetables and not worry about busting the calorie calculator!
Eat different types of grains
Grains have a lot of nutrients being grown from the earth like vegetables. They are not bad. But there are lots of types of grains other than the usual go-tos of rice, pasta and bread. Try barley, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur or different types of rice. Try to reduce the white, processed grains that tend to be more processed and have less nutrients.
Reduce sugary drinks including juice
Pop and juice have a load of simple sugars that jack up your sugar levels without many nutrients. Juice is concentrated; there is much more fruit in a glass of juice than you may think. There are 2-4 oranges in 250ml of orange juice, which is about the amount in a juice box. Consider drinking flavoured teas or flavoured sparkling water instead. To add to the taste you can always add a splash of juice, squeeze of fruit, spices or herbs. ie. cucumbers, strawberries, lemon, cinnamon, ginger, mint
Reduce your meal size and snack more frequently throughout the day
Like we talked about above, the intake of your energy sources and nutrients throughout the day ensures your body always has what it needs. In addition to that, we tend to eat too much of the wrong foods when we are hungry adding to an excess of calories and feeling of low-energy and lethargy. By reducing your meal sizes and eating more regularly throughout the day, you will keep your energy levels steady, not overeat and continually feed your body as it operates.
Calories in vs Calories out. If you want to maintain your weight, you need to be consuming what you are expending. If you want to lose weight, you must expend more; if you want to gain weight, you need to consume more. So as an exercise, take your estimated daily calorie expenditure and divide it up into 6-7 different meals or snacks. You should be eating every couple hours and more of your calories during the more active times of your day. Assuming you sleep 8 hours per day, you have 16 hours to divide your calories amongst in some larger size meals and smaller size snacks. Then figure out what portions you need to meet that calorie count, making sure you are eating a balance of protein (10-35%), fats (20-35%) and carbs(45-65%).
Prepare your meals in their proper portions
Don’t make more food than you need to be eating because you will either eat more than you need to or waste food and money. Calculate the size and number of portions you need to be eating throughout your meal prep cycle and prepare only that amount.
Purchase only what is in your meal plan
Don’t go to the grocery store hungry! If the food isn’t in your house, you will not eat it. Plus you’ll save money.
Happy is Healthy! Enjoy your life!
Eat what you love to eat! But in reasonable portions or modified in healthier ways. You are given a beautiful life to live and experience so do so, but responsibly. The worst thing for your health is to be unhappy and stressed.